General Question

Strauss's avatar

Should the minimum wage be tied to some economic metric?

Asked by Strauss (22329points) 1 month ago

July 24, 2021 was the 12th anniversary of the last increase in the US federal minimum wage. At that time it was raised to $7.25 an hour. According to this article in Business Insider, anyone who works for minimum wage now is making 21% less than they would when minimum wage was last raised. So, since Congress cannot be entrusted to raise the minimum wage when necessary, IMHO it should be time to some economic metric. Which one? Inflation? Cost of living? Productivity? Median worker pay? Or something else?

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11 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Cost of living seems like the obvious one to me, if realistically assessed.

More interesting and egalitarian would be highest income. As in, the minimum wage is some fraction of the highest person’s income, not adjusted by any loopholes.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Remain permanently raised at a rate of 1% more than any raise congress gets.
Not more than the wage of congress, but the rate of any increase.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Patty_Melt Congresspeople like Pelosi earn their money from insider trading. They don’t really live off their salary.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Indexed to inflation.

kritiper's avatar

Indexed to cost of living, which includes inflation.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Probably, but it won’t happen.

Minimum wages are essentially a primitive form of socialism, and is see by some as a bastardization of free markets and capitalism. The argument you hear from the right wing is that wages should reflect the value of the employee to the company and shouldn’t reflect some articial number that has no economic basis.

This was essentially the argument they used when Nixon forced wage and price controls as means to control inflation in 1970–71. An artificial framework ultimately has bad consequences.

And it was the same argument used in 2007–2008 by conservatives who felt that bailing out GM, Chrysler, and a ton of other companies was not ‘pure’ capitalism, and that the government shouldn’t be in the position of managing the economy.

Of course, that’s utter bullshit. The right wing point of view would have people starve and live on the street in order to support their previous makret driven ideology.

And of course what the right wing never recognizes is that the US government, by virtue of its role in funding Defense, the USPO, HHS, Social Security, and a million other programs, is already involved in non-captialistic pursuits.

The right wing would prefer that people suffer, so that their ideological goals can be reached. Watch the news, very night.

JLeslie's avatar

Tying to inflation makes sense. Keep in mind I was not in favor of $15 an hour even though I voted for it. I was in favor of $12.

Isn’t social security increases tied to inflation?

Patty_Melt's avatar

The ssi increases amount for me to about four dollars per month every couple of years.

JLoon's avatar


Because the minimum wage needed to support basic living needs should be about economics – Not politics.

gorillapaws's avatar

If we tie minimum wage to inflation, but keep it below a living wage, we’ve essentially “locked in” a large percent of the population who work full time into depending on government assistance. I’d rather their employers shoulder that burden instead of taxpayers.

At this point, I’d feel more comfortable with a $17 minimum wage indexed to inflation.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@gorillapaws I agree but see my earlier comment. What is sensible and correct, and what right-wing legislators will agree to – are two different things.

I don’t see a possibility in the next 50 years when there will be a consensus on social priorities. We had a short lived one in the days of LBJ (Great Society) but that got ripped to shreds by Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and that type.

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